As mentioned in an earlier post, my memories are quite small and limited. However in the mood of sharing, I'll try to relate a few more instances of being in Srila Prabhupada's association. Looking back now, I can see how fortunate we were in those days to be with Srila Prabhupada in so many different places in the world.
Having been born in Toronto, Canada, the opportunity to be with our spiritual father when he visited Toronto in 1976 was an especially memorable occasion. The nectar was flowing everywhere. Some of my previous entries were also about Prabhupada's visit to the Toronto temple, i.e. New Remuna dhama (see above photo).
I received my first chance to go on a morning walk with Srila Prabhupada during this particular visit. Of course, I'm totally insignificant and so my association was in the mood of awe and reverence. In fact, on different occasions in L.A., India, etc., I was on the periphery, observing and honoring Srila Prabhupada from a respectful distance. Although this was the case, I never felt anything lacking. As a young brahmacari, I was happy just to tag along unnoticed.
Usually there was a circle of older devotees and leaders surrounding Srila Prabhupada as he carried out his preaching activities. It wasn't always easy to get close to him. On morning walks, the group of devotees ebbed and flowed along with Prabhupada's unique rythym of walking. He would stop abruptly, make a philosophical point, and then quickly resume his former pace. It was sometimes difficult to hear the entire conversation. But what was most important for me was the chance just to be there with Srila Prabhupada. In the chapter entitled "Expressions of Love for Krsna" in The Nectar of Devotion, Srila Prabhupada states the following:
"Similarly, in the Tenth Canto, 2nd Chapter, 27th verse of Srimad-Bhagavatam, Lord Brahma says: 'My dear Madhusudana, persons who are pure devotees of Your Lordship actually feel Your ecstatic friendship, and as such they are never vanquished by enemies. They know they are always protected by You, and so they can matter-of-factly pass over the heads of their enemies without any care.' In other words, one who has taken complete shelter under the lotus feet of the Lord is always proud of being able to conquer all enemies."
When walking alongside Srila Prabhupada, one could not help but feel a similar sense of spiritual pride and confidence. We knew that no one could harm us in Prabhupada's presence. He was greater than any king and greater than any foe. We were invincible in his divine association. What a blessing to be allowed such a rare privilege. I hardly remember any of the conversation, but I'll never forget walking beside Prabhupada.
Srila Prabhupada was so kind to everyone during that visit. He personally distributed prasadam to not only the children, but to many of us present there. Additionally, I was fortunate enough to made friends with his personal servant, who saved me remnants from Prabhupada's plates. There were darsans in his room and a personal tour of the building. Every word that Prabhupada spoke was quickly circulated amongst the devotees and we learned much about what he liked and wanted. After one morning class, a number of Indian gentlemen lunged for his feet, hoping to get some holy dust. Immediately one of the leaders tried to stop them, but Prabhupada said, "No, let them." I watched in amazement as Srila Prabhupada stood there patiently as they availed themselves of his mercy.
Later that day, we all assembled for a photograph with Srila Prabhupada at the front of the temple -- a beautiful church which had recently been acquired by the devotees. Sitting at his lotus feet only two or three persons away was another source of pure spiritual joy. In a large city like Toronto full of millions of people, there were perhaps only eighty of us there for the photo shoot. So how lucky could we be?
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.